Mass Spectrometry School - Cuivre / Laiton / Copper / Brass

Raiders of the latest Advances in Mass Spectrometry

The international Mass Spectrometry Foundation (IMSF) and the Spanish Mass Spectrometry Society (SEEM) with the collaboration of four Scientific Spanish Societies (SEProt, SECyTA, SEQA and SEA) are glad to announce the 4th INTERNATIONAL MASS SPECTROMETRY SCHOOL (IMSS) that will be held in Sitges (Barcelona, Spain) from 15th to 20th September 2019.

This School is the continuation of an important activity of IMSF in the field of higher education in mass spectrometry, nowadays one of the major needs requested because of the wide diffusion of mass spectrometry in a multitude of different fields.

IMSS 2019 is a six day full immersion school aimed to give advanced education in mass spectrometry to graduate, PhD, post-doc students and young scientists working in the areas of chemistry, biosciences, food, environment and medicine. The school should also be useful for allowing meeting of young scientists coming from different countries and for creating new links among young generation of mass spectrometrists.


cours du cuivre

The history of copper through the ages

Copper has played a most important role in the development of civilizations. It found its origin in several sites, and in particular in Cyprus, which gave it its name: Aes Cyprium.

The ancients represented copper by the symbol, a modified form of the Egyptian hieroglyph meaning “for life”, thus marking the durability of copper / laiton.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment of the appearance of the first copper objects and the classical division into Stone, Bronze and Iron ages is not clearly demarcated. It is likely that copper hunting tools and weapons appeared in the Neolithic period, around 5000 BC, when this metal existed in nature in its native state, i.e. pure from all sources. combination.

Copper objects have been discovered in Iraq, dating back to the ninth millennium. However, one can say in general that the old civilizations used the bronze alloy of copper and tin, since 3500 BC, the iron appearing only later around 1800 BC
Gold and Silver, which along with copper were the metals most often found in the native state, was used very early on, but only as an ornament. One of the 7 Wonders of the World, the Colossus of Rhodes, made in 290 BC, was executed by hammering copper foil on wooden molds.

The Greeks also had highly elaborate bronze casting techniques, the principle of which is still used today for precision casting.

The invention of gunpowder was to lead to the use of bronze in large quantities for artillery. The first scientific instruments: compasses, scales and a large part of the metal parts used on board ships were made of copper or brass, an alloy of copper and zinc.

In modern times, copper has experienced an extraordinary boom with the development of electricity from the beginning of the 20th century.

Nowadays, the electrical applications of copper remain its fundamental outlet and represent about half of the consumption.

Its great aptitude for forming alloys, of which brasses and bronzes are the most widespread, and its remarkable anti-corrosion properties give it very important opportunities in industry and construction. Its fields of application cover the full spectrum of economic activity, from the most traditional parts and materials to the most advanced high-tech systems.

The copper is one of the oldest metals used by the man. It is an orange-colored metal that was discovered several millennia ago. It has the chemical symbol Cu and the atomic number 29. Since its discovery, copper has continued to be useful to humans until now.

The properties of copper are numerous and attract the interest of many people , including its conductivity, corrosion resistance and its ability to be recycled indefinitely. Indeed, research concerning the full exploitation of copper performance is currently underway.

Brief return to the history of copper

Copper is one of the oldest metals that humans have used . It is also possible to find the oldest traces of copper smelting in Iranian wind furnaces. Indeed, these wind ovens were discovered on the archaeological site of Sialk III, and date from the 5th century BC. J.-C.

This discovery then attests to the fact that man was able to take advantage of the characteristics of copper nearly seven thousand years ago. In 2300 BC, ancient civilizations alloyed copper with tin. The combination of these two materials has sparked an unprecedented technological revolution. It was the start of the Bronze Age.

The use of copper was then a very common metal, and it is said that the island of Cyprus is raised to copper. Indeed, historians claim the exploitation of the first copper mines in the native state was carried out on this island. This exploitation allowed the Minoan, Mycenaean and Phoenician civilizations to benefit from the riches resulting from this highly coveted metal. And the red metal market was carried out in the Mediterranean with several nations.

The evolution of red metal
Copper was discovered almost seven millennia ago, and we still use it to this day. Using new technologies, experts have been able to pinpoint the characteristics of copper . As we said previously, copper is an excellent thermal and electrical conductor, resists wear and corrosion and is recyclable.

These properties have made this metal an indispensable material in the manufacture of various objects. Indeed, all fields of application are breaking out. Whether in the field of architecture, the electrical and electronic industry, transport, the watchmaking industry or the mechanical industry, we find products with copper components.

Widely used in high technology, researchers have developed special materials such as STOL alloys in order to maximize the performance of copper. Whatever the objects of our daily life, we always find the presence of red metal.

The discovery of copper dates from well before the Chalcolithic, that is to say the period which extends from 3000 to 2500 years before Jesus Christ. It is indeed during this period that humans begin to create objects from metals and that stones and bones are gradually replaced by new elements. It is not possible to date this discovery exactly since the first uses may have remained within the circle of the tribe. Production for the purpose of trade did not arrive until the time of the Chalcolithic.

A metal reserved for certain uses

During its metallurgical period, prehistoric men also have gold at their disposal since certain objects could be estimated at this time as well. It is interesting to note that they knew immediately how to recognize the potential of copper because it is reserved for the creation of tools and weapons.

More appropriate to represent a tool that is both solid and precise, it will quickly prove useful when gold does not present the same qualities. This metal is more resistant and can make it more efficient for men, especially for hunting.

A molten metal to be transformed

Copper is the only metal that existed at the same time as stone. During this period, men use ovens to melt it and create precise objects. The chosen temperature is 1000 degrees, which is enough to hammer or shape objects but the awareness that it is possible to go further is not yet present. The copper age begins with trial and error to discover little by little this material and its possibilities.

The importance of the Vinca culture

The Danubian basin will represent the place where the extraction of copper will take place. This eruptive site will show the presence of copper in large quantities and the organization of the first mines will see the light of day. Copper carbonates are discovered there as well as rocks loaded with copper which will be able to be used.

The Vinca will make significant use of this reddish metal because they manage to come up with many ideas. By observing their life, they imagine objects and are particularly effective. The development of copper at this time is largely due to their inventiveness.

The Bronze Age

The discovery of tin
As soon as this new metal is discovered, prehistoric men will seek to use it for their different needs, but they will note important differences between each of them. Knowing perfectly about copper, tin does not have the same properties. The idea of ​​combining the two appears quickly, which will give birth to bronze. Metallurgy therefore passes a new stage by showing that alloys have a real interest. Tin mixed with copper gives birth to a metal full of promise which will be widely used later.

The three phases of bronze

From its discovery, its use is above all to improve objects created in copper alone by using the strength of the alloy. The old bronze shows the creation of certain bracelets but this tradition already existed with copper. It is only by passing through the middle then final bronze stage that bronze will take on its full meaning in history and that the extraction of copper and tin will reach their peak.

The final bronze is more and more worked and is adorned with interesting details both for the art of war and for everyday life. At the end of these stages, the bronze obtained is of an astonishing quality and the metallurgical capacities are constantly evolving. The first historic copper alloy made it possible to find new ways of working metals. The discovery of bronze is a real advance but the evolution in metallurgy is just as important because it will pave the way for future metal compositions and their exploitation.

The glorification of bronze before the recognition of copper
Bronze in different civilizations
From the moment of its discovery, bronze will be appreciated by all civilizations which will note its qualities as a metal but also its aesthetic side. From Celts to Asia Minor, bronze is found in many cultures around the world. At the same time, copper mining is highly developed to meet the demand for this alloy with tin. Trade between Great Britain, where tin is found, and copper, which is mainly found in Eastern Europe, will develop copper needs. The Gauls also own the bronze which they use for cauldrons, swords, and jewelry.

A metallurgy that specializes

The arrival of the Romans and the corresponding empire will highlight new needs with the available metals. Bronze is one of them, but this advanced civilization will also use copper, tin and iron judiciously. This is the start of using metals as needed with the search for the most appropriate each time.

Metals are therefore all present in the life of the Romans at this time. The Middle Ages will bring up new professions to use each metal depending on the intended application. Copper is making its appearance again in all areas of life and people are finding new interests in tools and weapons, as well as daily needs.

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